HART Route 97 makes a comeback on 12/10/16

On December 4, 2016, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) will be enacting some minor scheduling and/or routing changes to improve efficiency throughout the system. Such changes will be enacted on Routes 24X, 25LX, 37, and 96. However, the most significant change will take place on December 10, 2016; when the agency is slated to revive Trolleybus Route 97 – this time under the fresh “In-Towner” branding.

Please visit www.gohart.org for schedules.


Overview of the Service Changes

Service Change notice from HART.
Service Change notice from HART.

Route 97 Reintroduction

This next section will discuss both the old and the new Route 97


The Original Route 97

downtown-old
The original Route 97 as it operated between 2008 and 2012 (see the Green Line). Credit: HART.

HART originally ran Route 97 as a weekend trolley service in Downtown Tampa to compliment the existing Route 96. Route 97 service was funded through the City of Tampa, and would begin service at 6:00pm Friday night and ran through 2:00am Saturday morning. The service would then repeat on Saturday at 6:00pm, running through 2:00am Sunday morning. In 2012, the 97 was eliminated as budget woes hit both HART and the city. City funding ultimately went into helping to maintain the 96.


City events test demand for a revival of the Saturday Trolley

During the past few months, HART and the City of Tampa have been working on ways to better serve the downtown area without hurting each other’s budgets. In October, HART began  to operate a trial Saturday trolley service during large-scale events in Downtown Tampa – such as MegaCon. These trials were funded by the city and have been well received by customers from what I heard. Reviving trolley service on Saturdays will allow for customers to have an alternative to driving and parking – even for those who just want to take a walk or jog along the Riverwalk, or connect to the Streetcar to have lunch in Ybor City.


What the new service will bring

The new Route 97 will be shaped as depicted above.
The new Route 97 will be shaped as depicted above. Credit: HART.

The new 97 will operate on Saturdays between 11:00am and 7:00pm, with 30-minute frequency. However, during larger downtown events, the city may step in to help fund additional service. Additional service may include increased frequency and/or service hours. Below, is a quick glance at the basic schedule, which is subject to change – so please be sure to visit www.gohart.org for the latest information.

97-basic-schedule
The basic schedule for the new Route 97. Select the image for a larger view.

And one more note; OneBusAway tracking will be available for the 97 when it operates its basic schedule. Additional services will not be trackable until improvements to the OBA application are introduced by which special services are able to be tracked. If this ever happens is really anyone’s guess.


Other service changes – Effective 12/4/16 or 12/5/16

In addition to the reintroduction of the 97, HART will be enacting minor scheduling and/or routing changes to Routes 24X, 25LX, 37, and 96. These changes mainly encompass making detour routing from August and October, 2016 permanent fixtures.


Routes 24X and 25LX – Effective 12/5/16

A map depicting the new routing for Routes 24X and 25LX during the AM rush. Credit: HART.
A map depicting the new routing for Routes 24X and 25LX during the AM rush. Credit: HART.

Routes 24X and 25LX, which serve the South Interbay region of South Tampa on weekdays from the Brandon/Riverview area, will be seeing a change in routing during the AM service hours. PM routing will remain unchanged. Please see the maps below for both AM and PM routing. Schedules have been tweaked accordingly to reflect the changes.

Route 24X.
Route 24X.
Route 25LX.
Route 25LX.

Route 37 – Effective 12/4/16

Changes to Route 37 at the Hillsborough Community College Brandon Campus. Credit: HART.
Changes to Route 37 at the Hillsborough Community College Brandon Campus. Credit: HART.

Route 37 has previously served the Hillsborough Community College (HCC) Brandon Campus via Columbus Dr, which was previously the campus’ sole entrance/exit. In 2015, a second entrance/exit was added to the campus in the form of Nancy Watkins Dr. In August, 2016 – after several months of planning – HART enacted a temporary detour for Route 37 buses serving the HCC campus. Buses now travel in a clockwise direction from Falkenburg Rd, to Nancy Watkins Dr, curving around the east border of the campus to Columbus Dr, and then back onto Falkenburg. The previous on-campus stop was removed in favor of adding a stop on the north end of the campus on Nancy Watkins Dr. Schedules have been tweaked accordingly to reflect the changes.

Please note that the HCC Brandon Campus is NOT SERVED prior to 6:00am on weekdays, on weekends, and other times when classes are not in session (such as holiday breaks).


Route 96 – Effective 12/5/16

In October, 2016, the routing for Route 96 – the In-Towner Weekday – was changed to better serve key portions of Downtown Tampa and the Channelside District. The detour routing from October will now be permanent. Schedules have been tweaked accordingly to reflect the changes.

96-map-nov-16
The permanent route for the 96 will follow the detour routing that was enacted back in October, 2016.

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